How China’s two-child policy is giving Airbnb and its rivals a boost
Around 48 per cent of the estimated 710 million Chinese tourists travelling domestically during the Golden Week holiday will be going on a family holiday
A room with a clean comfy bed and a nice hot shower may sound like the perfect spot for tourists.
But to impress well-heeled mainland Chinese travellers, especially those with children in tow, this simple hospitality formula may no longer be enough.
Thanks to the surge in newborns resulting from China’s two-child policy, accommodation-sharing websites such as Airbnb are becoming increasingly popular, as they compete with traditional hotels to attract middle-class Chinese visitors during the country’s Golden Week holiday, which began on National Day on October 1.
“Rather than staying in standard hotel rooms, parents who travel with babies prefer to stay in homes,” said Chen Chi, chief executive officer of the Beijing-based Xiaozhu, an Airbnb-like business that offers rental properties equipped with everyday necessities for families ranging from cookware and cots, to changing tables and high chairs.
Family trips have become the major driving force of China’s booming travel market and around 48 per cent of the estimated 710 million Chinese tourists travelling domestically during the holiday will be going on a family holiday, according to a recent report jointly published by online travel website Ctrip and China’s Tourism Academy.
Chen said that family-friendly amenities like kitchens are becoming increasingly important to guests who want to continue their usual daily routine and sleeping schedule while on holiday.
Parent-children tours have also become a lot more popular within the domestic travel industry, especially since Beijing introduced the two-child policy on January 1, 2016, he added.
Chen said around 30 per cent of bookings for Golden Week this year on Xiaozhu, which has more than 200,000 listings in 300 cities across China, were made by parents planning to travel with their kids - a significant increase from the previous year.
China’s relaxation of its one-child policy led to the highest number of births in 17 years last year, with a further increase in the number of newborns expected this year, according to China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission.
With the growing size of Chinese families, accommodation-sharing businesses are likely to gain momentum, experts say.
There are no exact numbers of how many Chinese families with two children will be travelling during Golden Week.
However statistics from Ctrip, one of China’s largest online travel sites with more than 300 million users, show that the number of family holidays being booked by two parents with two children have jumped 50 per cent year on year.
Many accommodation-sharing websites like Airbnb have started to pay attention to Chinese families to further boost business after cracking the millennials market.
An increasing number of listings on Airbnb are clearly labelled “family friendly”.
“With the increase in disposable income, there is a lot more demand for families to travel together,” said An Li, vice-president of Airbnb China, at a recent industry conference.
“We are keen to add family-friendly listings on our site so that parents and children can stay in fully furnished rooms with facilities that allow families to maintain their regular lifestyles,” she said.